Wednesday, 30 January 2008

And also...

Here is one of the secret projects from last year. My quilt group decided we would make 6in blocks for each other last year, one for each person, every month from February to November. That wasn't too onerous as there are only four of us in the group! I forgot to take photos of the blocks I made (how silly!)but here are the ones made for me:
Aren't they lovely? I asked for my blocks to be in reproduction fabrics because I like those quilts but never end up making myself one. I laid them out on point on my design wall because I think I may use that layout, but with strip sashing, or a streak of lightning sashing. I haven't decided yet.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

What else have I been doing with my summer?

Since there clearly hasn't been much textile art happening, what have I been doing?

My garden has been rampant this summer, because of all the rain. The back garden has survived on washing machine water for several years, and was reasonably lush, but everything has gone mad in the mild wet conditions. Here is one day's harvest from my tiny vegetable garden: The dark coloured things are Purple King beans.
I'm about to start planting seeds of cool season crops. I'm especially looking forward to the peas!

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Textiles, anything textiles!

All I've blogged about lately is Scatterdays, mostly because my usually slow progress has slowed to a crawl for some weeks. This is one reason why:

Yes, I'm tidying and reorganising my workroom, in preparation for a new year of creative effort. Of course, tidying involves the equivalent of fitting a size 22 body into a size 12 ballgown! I'm gradually making progress, which will be aided by the arrival (soon, I'm promised!) of my second workroom table, with lots of lovely storage underneath it. It will be for cutting and painting and similar standing-up/ sitting on a stool activities.

In between bouts of tidying (it hasn't always looked quite this bad!), I have been making quite a lot of pants. I have trouble buying pants that fit me nicely and I was getting tired of jeans, so I've invested a lot of energy lately in drafting a pattern and making some pants that suit the shape I actually am, not the one some marketing guru thinks I should be. Here are the results:

Not bad, eh? I'm not done yet, the next pair are red.

When I get a moment, I'll show you the results of the Secret Block Swap from last year. I (foolishly) didn't take any photos of the blocks I made so they may take a little while to see, but I will put up the ones from the other members, Lorinda, Karen and Sharon, as soon as I can get to the design wall to lay them out.

I haven't made any art at all lately, but I have a cunning plan to make some ATCs once I get my workroom to rights. Stay tuned!


Scatterdays begins with an E this week, and requires something white, something from the garden and something terrifying.

Energy and enthusiasm eluded me this week, but eventually I extricated myself from ennui. I chose one of the several White Elephants that live in this house for my white objet. I have a white elephant Christmas decoration, now sadly packed away, and another white stone elephant thatlooked extremely ecru in the photo. But this one looks and is white, beneath all its gold embellishment.

My "something from the garden" actually inhabits the street outside. I was assured by elderly residents that it's a eucalyptus sideroxlyon (OK, I admit, I had to look that up!), otherwise known as the Red Ironbark or Mugga. Its native environment is the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, but it's also an everyday street tree throughout Australia. We once had an avenue of E. sideroxylons down our street but now this example is exceptional.

"Something terrifying" extended my expertise extensively. In the absence of ideas, I was going to share a photo of an extremely terrifying thing I found recently - one of the red wines we bottled at the third N.Epping Wine Bottling in 1995, which emerged, blinking and dusty, from the back of a cupboard. From memory, the 1995 bottling was not an especially good drop, so only an extremely enthusiastic oenophile would attempt to experience it. (Or do I mean the exact opposite of a oenophile? More like a couple of desperate university students?)

However, I found something more E-related in my mother's extremely elderly educational resources from Another Age. She was educated in an era when England had an Empire. The title English History is self-explanatory; that's all they were taught at Adavale and elsewhere in 1931. The book sections are: The Growth of Civic Freedom (from the Anglo-Saxon moot to female emancipation), The Growth of the Industrial System (from Manors and Gilds (sic) to The Industrial Revolution) and Growth of an Empire Based on Liberty ("How the American Colonies Were Lost" [sob]through to.. oh gee, a couple of chapters on Australian self-determination, via chapters on the British bringing liberty to India and being cruelly rejected, and bringing liberty to the South Africans and beating those evil Boers, who eventually saw the error of their ways and showed "such a loyalty to the Empire that has surprised and pleased all its members." So there!). Why is this scary? I wonder how much of our modern world view will stand the test of time, or will future generations look at what we take for granted now and laugh? Will they snort, "Global Warming? They were so naive back then!" or "American cultural imperialism? They didn't last long, did they?" I sometimes think that it is the things we all know without doubt to be true that will turn out to have been egregiously in error. Just as the British Empire was going to last forever, bringing enlightenment to the entire world.

Saturday, 5 January 2008


This week I bring you V, from the car, the office and the kitchen.

As I know no-one who owns a Volvo, I valiantly considered photographing a valve from a vehicle, but this vesicated the vestiges of my feeble wits. Instead I bring you various vents and a visor, all thoughtfully made from vinyl and much more available.

As my office is virtual these days, I could only find these volumes on Visual Basic in my office, and a verso from one of them. (This is one of those occasions when a classical education comes in handy! A verso is the back of a manuscript sheet or, in the case of bound books, the left hand page.)

My kitchen is full of various victuals, vivers and viands beginning with a V. Here are some red wine vinegar, some vanilla and those essentials to vivify Australian life, iced VoVo biscuits! I didn't photograph the many vegetables, including the bucket of potatoes and inevitable volume of beans I just harvested from my vegetable garden. All we need is the vodka (ah I forgot, we have the potatoes for that!)and starvation is narrowly averted, yet again.